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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Emily
Plant-based diets may help prevent oral cancer as well as gum disease. Fruits and vegetables contain a vast variety of phytonutrients that promote oral health. For example, an apple a day has been linked with less oral cancer. The consumption of black raspberries may result in the regression of precancerous lesions in the mouth. Cranberries have anti-proliferative effects on cancer in vitro. Within just a few weeks of eating a healthier diet, our taste buds may adjust so that healthier foods may begin to taste better. For those eating a plant-based diet, vitamin B12 supplementation is essential for oral health.
Although the consumption of citrus and sour fruits may promote the erosion of tooth enamel, rinsing with water after consuming acidic foods appears to be a good preventive measure. Swishing with water may also protect tooth enamel from the natural acids found in beverages such as hibiscus tea. Rinsing with green tea may help prevent the growth of plaque bacteria without the genetic damage associated with chlorhexidine antiseptic mouthwashes. Yet children should be careful to limit their tea drinking, as the overconsumption of green tea during childhood may increase risk of dental fluorosis– or discoloration- due to its natural fluoride content. The antioxidants from lemonbalm tea may be protective against radiation-induced oxidative stress.
Gargling is known to soothe sore throats, but in addition, gargling may reduce the risk of the common cold. Oral lichen planus, where the immune system starts attacking the lining of the mouth, has been successfully treated with the common plant, purslane. Amalgam fillings in our teeth contain mercury and release a certain amount every day; eating just a single can of tuna a week, though, may be the equivalent to having 29 fillings in your mouth.
Bioaccumulation leads to the contamination of dairy and meat products with persistent organic pollutants, which may be linked to gum disease. Research reveals that cow’s milk may also be linked to recurring canker sores. Poultry workers have been found to have excess cancers of the mouth and other body parts. For accessible cancers such as those of the mouth, the curcumin in turmeric may be topically applied to offer relief from the itching and oozing of recurrent, ulcerative lesions.
The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
Preorder my new book How Not to Age, out this December!
How can stress and menstrual cycles affect the smell of our breath?
What are the maximum acute and daily doses for adults and children to avoid gastrointestinal effects?
What is the best technique and the best frequency for tongue scraping?
Tongue scraping can boost the ability of the good bacteria in our mouth to take advantage of the nitrates in greens to improve our cardiovascular health.
Tongue cleaning should be carried out gently with low pressure to avoid unnecessary tissue trauma.
What causes bad morning breath, and what can you do about it?
Tongue scraping and tongue brushing have been practiced for centuries in many continents around the world, but do they do anything?
Both erythritol and xylitol are not just neutral, but beneficial for dental health. Which one wins out?
Most bad breath is due to the decay of sulfur-containing proteins.
A high-fiber meal is put to the test to reduce bad breath.
How safe are fourth-generation sweeteners, such as the rare sugar allulose?
The sugar industry’s response to evidence implicating sweeteners in the obesity epidemic.
Given the disinfection byproducts in tap water, Brita, PUR, ZeroWater, and refrigerator water filters are put to the test.
If sugar consumption is considered the one and only cause of cavities, how much is too much?
How good is the evidence that flossing is effective, and what have randomized controlled trials shown is the optimal toothbrushing and ﬂossing sequence?
How the food industry responds to “health food faddists.”
One of the worst breakfast cereals will surprise you.
The best and worst foods for bad breath and gum inflammation.
Plant-based diets are put to the test in the treatment of periodontal disease.
What would happen if you stopped brushing your teeth but ate healthier?
Vitamin C, turmeric, beta-glucan fiber, and vitamin B12 are put to the test for recurring canker sores (aphthous ulcers).
Tea tree essential oil is pitted against the antifungal cream lotrimin for the treatment of fungal nail infection, but what about treating the underlying cause?
Are the effects of tea tree oil anti-fungal or merely anti-inflammatory?
Every year, cannabis is estimated to result in two million years of healthy life lost due to disability. How much is that compared to alcohol and tobacco?
Does excluding dairy products, food additives, and gluten-containing grains from one’s diet help those with recurring canker sores (aphthous ulcers)?
Oil pulling may help with tooth sensitivity, but the risk of inducing lipoid pneumonia outweighs the benefits.
When oil pulling was put to the test for teeth whitening, halitosis, and dental enamel erosion, the results were no better than rinsing with water—or even worse.
Oil pulling is put to the test head-to-head against chlorhexidine mouthwash for oral and dental health measures.
What evidence exists to suggest oil pulling can effectively treat serious diseases, such as paralysis, meningitis, cancer, and AIDS?
For those with recurrent canker sores, is it better to use a toothpaste with SLS, CAPB, or no foaming agents at all?
Just because the sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste doesn’t cause cancer doesn’t mean it can’t cause problems.
Green tea may help with athlete’s foot, dental plaque, acne, impetigo, and bladder infections, but if it’s so good at killing bacteria, what may it do to our gut flora?
Much of the lead found in adults today was deposited into our skeletons decades ago and is just now leaching out from our bones into our blood. What are the health consequences of having lead levels down around the American average?
Is carbonated water good or bad for heartburn, dyspepsia, and bowel regularity?
Dried fruit has long been thought to contribute to tooth decay, but what does the science say?
Is triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste safe in regards to the nitrate-reducing bacteria on our tongue and potential endocrine-disrupting effects on thyroid function and obesity?
Concerns about smoothies and oxalic acid, nitrate availability, dental erosion, and weight gain are addressed.
How can we protect our tooth enamel from the erosive natural acids found in sour foods and beverages?
There’s a cheap concoction one can make at home that safely wipes out cavity-forming bacteria on our teeth better than chlorhexidine mouthwash and also reduces their plaque-forming ability.